Connectivity plays a crucial role in enabling economic growth by facilitating trade and investment, movement of goods and services and sustaining jobs and training opportunities. Externally, our transport and digital infrastructure connects the region to national and international markets. Within the region, it ensures that flows of goods and people are efficient.
Our aim is to provide affordable, attractive, reliable, safe, healthy transport choices for businesses, residents and visitors and to deliver first class digital infrastructure that is accessible, reliable and fast.
Achieving these aims will support businesses from across the region to grow and prosper, and will also offer particular opportunities for businesses in our growing digital and logistics industries.
Our Strategic Economic Plan sets out a clear vision for our digital and transport connectivity by 2024 and identifies a number of schemes and projects which we will deliver during this period. These can be separated into two areas – digital connectivity and transport connectivity.
The North East has a thriving digital sector. We also have two fundamental projects that will help improve the digital infrastructure within our region.
Ensuring national and international connectivity by rail, road, air and sea is crucial to growth in trade and exports, to make sure we contribute to national and northern growth. Ensuring our region is ‘HS2-ready’, including at our key gateways, so we are able to make the most of this transformational investment, is one of our key priorities.
Strategic road and rail projects will improve links between the North East, the wider North, London and Scotland. This includes duelling the A66 and improvements to the A69 to improve East to West connectivity and work with Highways England and Network Rail to promote investment on the strategic road network and national rail network.
Newcastle International Airport delivers multiple benefits to the North East economy, including national and international connectivity for business growth and tourism and support for 12,000 jobs and generation of £581m in GVA annually.
There are currently 16 major transport schemes and a package of 15 local Sustainable Transport schemes funded by the North East Local Growth Fund being delivered within the North East LEP area to help improved in region connectivity.
A range of partners work with the North East LEP to help deliver the SEP. Our partners in Local Government are responsible for planning and regional transport programmes set out in the document, and a wide range of other organisations take part in LEP programmes to support SEP objectives including through our Innovation, Business Growth and Skills Boards which include key partners from business organisations, universities and colleges. A number of central Government departments and Agencies are actively involved in our work.
You can find out more about the North East Combined Authority on their website.